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Innovation, networks, and vertical integration

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  • Robertson, Paul L.
  • Langlois, Richard N.

Abstract

A central debate in industrial policy today is that between proponents of large vertically integrated firms on the one hand and advocates of networks of small specialized producers on the other. This paper argues that neither institutional structure is the universal panacea its enthusiasts claim. The menu of institutional alternatives is in fact quite large, and both firms and networks -- of which there is more than one kind -- can be successful, growth- promoting adaptations to the competitive environment. Industrial structures vary in their ability to coordinate information flows necessary for innovation and to overcome power relationships adverse to innovation. The relative desirability of the various structures, then, will depend on the nature and scope of technological change in the industry and on the effects of various product life-cycle patterns. The principal policy conclusion of this analysis is that the government's role ought to be facilitating rather than narrow and

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 24 (1995)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 543-562

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:24:y:1995:i:4:p:543-562

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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  1. Dorfman, Nancy S., 1983. "Route 128: The development of a regional high technology economy," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 299-316, December.
  2. Langlois, Richard N. & Robertson, Paul L., 1992. "Networks and innovation in a modular system: Lessons from the microcomputer and stereo component industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 297-313, August.
  3. Florida, Richard L. & Kenney, Martin, 1988. "Venture capital-financed innovation and technological change in the USA," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 119-137, June.
  4. Helper, Susan & Levine, David I, 1992. "Long-Term Supplier Relations and Product-Market Structure," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 561-81, October.
  5. Brusco, Sebastiano, 1982. "The Emilian Model: Productive Decentralisation and Social Integration," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 167-84, June.
  6. Teece, David J., 1986. "Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 285-305, December.
  7. Saxenian, AnnaLee, 1991. "The origins and dynamics of production networks in Silicon Valley," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 423-437, October.
  8. Imai, Ken-ichi & Itami, Hiroyuki, 1984. "Interpenetration of organization and market : Japan's firm and market in comparison with the U.S," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 285-310, December.
  9. Langlois, Richard N. & Robertson, Paul L., 1989. "Explaining Vertical Integration: Lessons from the American Automobile Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(02), pages 361-375, June.
  10. Paul L. Robertson & Richard N. Langlois, 1994. "Institutions, Inertia, and Changing Industrial Leadership," Industrial Organization, EconWPA 9406005, EconWPA.
  11. Cheung, Steven N S, 1983. "The Contractual Nature of the Firm," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-21, April.
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